The calendars in the Beech Nut Bookstore waited excitedly for the day’s first customers. It was a new year and a new decade—a big responsibility for the latest recruits. Some were sweating in their plastic sleeves, others stayed cool in recyclable paper envelopes. A few were going to far as to give out free stickers and pens.
Row after row, they jittered and hopped, all competing for Tiny’s attention. One lively calendar, ‘Cat Life!’ was plastered with dozens of preening kittens wearing the most ridiculous party hats.
“We love you the most Tiny, pick us!” they purred, with wide and innocent eyes. Another featured ‘Horses of the World’, where shiny majestic stallions pranced and strutted like show ponies.
Something caught Tiny’s eye—a beautiful Japanese garden. “Come and find peace in our flower garden,” it cooed. Tiny flipped through the months, pausing at May. Sweetly scented cherry blossoms spilled off the page as a spring brook gurgled over alpine rocks. It was as slick as a travel magazine, and she snapped it shut.
As she was about to leave, Tiny spotted a calendar waiting shyly at the back. She pulled it out. The kittens scowled. It was bold and elegant, and the months had helpful word prompts. It also had a name: Nikki.
“Hmm,” muttered Tiny, “this looks promising.” The remaining calendars on the rack began to fuss and buck, and some threw themselves to the floor in defiance. The once adorable kitten in the Easter bonnet was now looking demonic.
“Pick usssssss!” it hissed, making Tiny wince. She was starting to feel terrible for the other calendars.
“It’s ok Tiny,” said Nikki, with a reassuring smile. August, September, October and June spoke together.
“Now. Try. Contemplate. Change.” Tiny felt instantly better. It was going to be a tough year and she needed a friend that could spark a change in her. She tucked Nikki under her arm; the day was looking brighter already.